By Brad Kava
Like so many other readers, we found a camp for our 5-year-old son, Parker, from an article in Growing Up in Santa Cruz.
It was a story about an intriguing camp, Thomas Farm Films, which hires movie directors to teach kids how to make films and then makes them on an Aptos organic farm. I was afraid it might be too much for such a young kid.
We’d already had a bad experience with a highly recommended preschool, but he hated it. It’s so hard to know what a kid will like.
But Parker loved the film camp so much that even though we’d signed up for only a week, he went for four weeks and had one of the greatest experiences of his life. Now, when we watch movies together, he teaches me things about how they were made. He throws out terms like cut scenes and angles and CGI and amazes me. Even more impressive was watching the films he made.
I was expecting something shoddy or goofy…you know, kid stuff. But what we saw at the Rio Theatre debut were professionally written and directed movies. It was life-changing for him and for us. It opened a whole new world.
We had some other great camp experiences. Our teen daughter went to Camp Catwalk, which taught her to design and make fashionista clothes. She loved it, and costume design is on her list of possible careers. Our son went to a theater camp, put on a play, and has since been in high school plays that have given real meaning to his schooling.
Parker also went to a nature camp, Wolf Camp, over the winter break, which got him started on his love of nature. We are looking at continuing nature education.
This issue is filled with suggestions for camps now that things are back to relative normal. We would love your feedback on your best camp experiences. We’ll post them online and in the next issue so readers can get advice from your experience. Tell us something about your kids’ camps and why you would recommend them to our readers. What did they learn? What was fun? How was the balance between learning and enjoyment?
Send your reviews to [email protected] and help others find the best places to send kids. Your reviews can really help other families, which is what Growing Up is all about. Thanks in advance for your contributions.
Speaking of which, our Family Favorites issue is coming up. You can nominate and then vote on the best family places in the county for food, clothes, schools, camps, after-school programs, etc. Again, this is a way the community can help each other find the best places for kids and families.
Thanks for reading,